By JOHN LEGASPI
Images by NOEL PABALATE
Art inspired by nature presents unparalleled aesthetic that is made both by God and humans. From the picturesque landscape painting of Einar Wegener in David Ebershoff’s novel The Danish Girl, the “Water Lilies” series of Claude Monet to the cryptic messages through the use of the language of flowers in plays, novels, and sonnets such as William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, John Steinbeck’s short story The Chrysanthemums, and J.K. Rowling naming Harry Potter’s mother as “Lily,” all exude a timeless elegance hidden in brushstrokes or poetic phrases, tickling the mind with timeless beauty.
This is the mood behind the holiday 2019 collection of designer Criselda Lontok. “I’m more with nature,” muses the designer. “For this collection, you’ll be seeing prints mimicking the beauty of nature. There is a lot of flowers, leaves, even birds.”
With 36 years of experience designing clothes, Lontok admits that fashion wasn’t her first choice. “I never really intended to be a designer, I finished Foreign Service. It was Mrs. Gliceria Tantoco who started it all,” she says. “She designed some blouses and she said to me, ‘I want you to continue it,’ and then it soared.”
From that point on, the grand matriarch of Rustan’s baptized the label with Lontok’s name and, she envisioned, it became a top-selling local brand at Rustan’s.
From dark and moody florals, a feminine take on the classic camouflage, to psychedelic prints and stylish neon pairings, every piece of the collection is a celebration of a refined and profoundly beautiful woman.
Fast forward to this season and Lontok’s designs center on stunning ensembles and graceful silhouettes that embrace a woman’s femininity and unique positive outlook. From dark and moody florals, a feminine take on the classic camouflage, to psychedelic prints, and stylish neon pairings, every piece of the collection is a celebration of a refined and profoundly beautiful woman.
To showcase the stunning looks of holiday 2019, Lontok held a fashion show at The Gallerie of Rustan’s Makati. Her muses walked the runway, some of society’s most stylish: Joy Rustia, Marga Nograles, Jojo Ocampo, Liza Chan-Parpan, Penny Katigbak, and Ria Fernandez. Dressing strong and empowered women, Lontok also dedicated the show to her cousin Ching delas Alas Montinola, who came to the celebration with her daughters.
As she did with her previous collections, Lontok imbued the runway with her signature finesse and thoughtful taste for structure, function, and form. Much like the women she dresses, the designer’s style is spirited, beautiful, and timeless.
Looking back, from when she was a model to being a merchandise manager at Rustan’s and now as a noted fashion designer, Lontok’s journey is like a flower blooming every season, with petals falling in autumn and renewing themselves during springtime. “You need to have the passion and enjoy what you’re doing,” she beams. “Because if you’re not enjoying it, you will never succeed.”
Here are the looks that caught our eyes on Criselda Lontok’s 2019 holiday runway.
A rampant trend on the fall/winter runways, this melancholic twist on cheery florals is bewitching and spellbinding.
For the hip, young, and sophisticated, these opulent contemporary pieces can easily transition from street to formal.
Who would have thought camouflage could be elegant? Lontok’s earthy color combinations make a woman stand out for the right reasons.
Nothing is more powerful than a structured coat. From flounced sleeves to round cocoon-like jackets, Lontok’s cover-ups are stylishly commanding and elegant.
Done in blush and pink tones, Lontok’s pieces are sweet and delicate. Match them with the right jewelry for a posh day, just like the elegant Jackie O or the vibrant Elle Woods.
Easy and free-flowing dresses dancing through the wind with look-at-me prints as a nod to the ’70s groovy style.
Luxe fabrication is what Lontok is known for. Pieces in chic monochrome, golden prints, and shimmering lamé are the must-haves for the festive season.